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Captioning Best Practices: Caption Providers


Caption providers

Caption companies

Caption companies include owners, managers, supervisors, and trainers that provide oversight for the entire captioning organization which provides live realtime captioning for its clients. This level of management ensures captions are provided within a system that meets the needs of the client: access to the audio content of the television program.

Caption companies should:

  1. Ensure proper screening, training, and supervision of captioners by nationally certified supervisors.
  2. Encourage captioners to obtain and maintain national certification available through NCRA.
  3. Educate clients as to what is necessary to produce quality captions, including receiving preparation materials and technical requirements.
  4. Provide technical support to clients and captioners at all times.
  5. Have a system to confirm that captioners are in place and ready to caption their programs before the scheduled program is set to begin.
  6. Monitor caption quality to ensure that captions are understandable, factual, timely, and as accurate as possible.
  7. Conduct periodic quality reviews of an individual captioner’s quality, both in printouts and on-air, and maintain records of quality results.
  8. Regularly review discrepancy reports in order to correct issues and avoid future issues.
  9. Follow networks’ or stations’ instructions regarding caption placement and profanity policies.
  10. Alert clients immediately if a technical issue on their end needs to be addressed.
  11. Respond in a timely manner to issues raised by clients or viewers.



Individual captioners are the talented people who instantly translate the spoken word into readable text in real time, with as few errors as possible. Captioners need to work as a team with the company that hires them and understand that individuals who watch the captions depend on that captioner for access to information that can be entertaining, informative, and sometimes even lifesaving

Captioners should:

  1. Caption as timely, accurately, factually, and completely as possible.
  2. Conduct themselves in a professional manner with station and network contacts.
  3. Work to earn and maintain national certifications available through NCRA.
  4. Know the audience for whom they are captioning.
  5. Have a reliable high-speed Internet provider.
  6. Have at least two land lines and a cell phone.
  7. Do not use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) line to transmit caption data.
  8. Prepare thoroughly for each program.
  9. Keep abreast of current events and sports news.
  10. Note the times a loss of captions occurs and report the loss in a discrepancy report.
  11. Complete discrepancy reports in a thorough and timely manner.
  12. Make every effort to stop captioning as soon as possible before a commercial break to ensure the commercial’s captions are visible from the start.
  13. Engage the command that allow captions to pass at commercials and at the conclusion of the program.
  14. Be sure that captions are passing on the following program at the conclusion of the program.
  15. Be cognizant of the profanity policy for each station or network.  Make dictionary entries that prevent offensive words from inadvertently appearing in captions.
  16. Send files in a timely manner after programs, as required.
  17. Monitor captions so that they can immediately correct any errors and prevent similar errors from happening again.
  18. Take care in the selection of brief forms so as not to cause problematic mistranslates.
  19. Perform self-reviews and make appropriate dictionary entries.
  20. Perform regular dictionary maintenance.
  21. Know their equipment well and possess good troubleshooting skills.
  22. Keep captioning equipment and steno machines in good working order.
  23. Have redundant equipment in order to minimize downtime.
  24. Update equipment and software as needed.

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